Ersatz Avant: 2008 Audi RS4 Avant

After B5 production ended, Audi continued to widen the pool for its small chassis. Joining the lineup for the B6 model was a new Cabriolet, and of course returning were the dynamic duo of the sedan and Avant models. Power now came from the BBK 4.2 liter 4 cam 40 valve all-aluminum V8. Fitting the motor into the small chassis necessitated dropping the belt drive in favor of the infamous rear-mounted chain. Still, though, with 340 horsepower on tap and weighed the same as the outgoing 250 horsepower V6 twin-turbo, with instant torque, the S4 seemed top of the heap. But it was still playing catch-up with the outgoing E46 M3, so when it came to the B7, Audi offered even more spunk, bringing for the first time after three generations their first top-tier offering in the small chassis – the RS4.

At the heart of the new addition to the fleet was, of course, a special motor. Dubbed the BNS, Audi ditched the 5 valve heads but added FSI direct fuel injection. In reality, little was shared or untouched between the seemingly similar 4.2 V8s in the S4 and RS4, but the result of the fiddling was impressive. The engineers at Ingolstadt managed to crank a 420 horsepower screamer out, and coupled with the revised, more rear-biased quattro drivetrain in the B7, a completely different beast was born.

But while there was celebration that another RS model joined the lineup for the United States, there were some fan groans that once again Audi had skipped its party piece – the RS Avant. But that not-insignificant setback didn’t stop some enterprising individuals from making their own:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi RS4 Avant on Bring a Trailer

Continue reading

Roll the Dice: 1990 Audi V8 quattro

Update 9/26/18: This V8 quattro sold for $1,775.

We’re going from one of the best 200 20V quattros out there to the more typical comparison point for an early 90s Audi – a project. I won’t bore you with all the details of what made the V8 quattro unique because I did so back in August when we looked at a very clean and tidy ’90 in Indigo Blue Metallic. Sufficed to say, they’re neat cars that all too often are parted out rather than going through the laborious task of keeping them afloat.

So here we have a ’90 V8 quattro. Like the majority, it is a 4-speed automatic in Pearlescent White Metallic. Generally speaking, I mentioned in my last few V8 posts that the cars to have are the rare 5-speed manuals, the less often seen 4.2, or the absolute best 3.6 you can find. But there are a few reasons to be interested in this particular one – let me tell you why:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

Continue reading

Feature Listing: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500E with 350,000 miles

I’ve proclaimed my love before of ultra-high mileage Mercedes-Benz by fawning over a 2003 G500 with 318,000 miles and a 1980 300D with 585,000 miles, but today’s car is something I didn’t expect to see with a ‘3’ as the first digit on the odometer. I shouldn’t be all that surprised since it is a W124 and there is a probably one right now being used as a taxi somewhere in Africa with somewhere over 600,000 miles on it. You think I’m kidding? What did surprise me is that this particular W124 with over 350,000 miles is none other than the legendary 500E. This is the highest mileage .036 I’ve run across in as many years as I can remember because since the day this car rolled off the production line in Zuffenhausen, they’ve always been expensive and collectible cars. The nearly $82,000 window sticker in 1993 and the current market prices for these cars have kept them in the hands of loving owners who often have more cars than they have pairs of shoes. This of course keeps miles off these in general because of how special they are and also the fact that some 500E specific parts are rather pricey and not the easiest to source thanks to a lot of little pieces being no longer available. From afar, this DB702 Smoke Silver over Parchment 500E up for sale in Portland, Oregon doesn’t show one-bit of its mega miles and I’m quite impressed with its condition even for being in California for almost its entire life:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500E on Portland Craigslist

Continue reading

1993 Mercedes-Benz 400E

About two weeks ago I looked at a really nice Mercedes-Benz 400SEL up for sale in Canada that I felt was just a sublime car. Nothing was crazy or ostentatious, it was just a beautifully built car. Today, I wanted to look at another 1993 V8 Mercedes up for sale in Canada but this time it is the slightly smaller 400E. I’ve gone on before about how the W124 400E/420E is often lost in the crowd thanks to the legendary 500E and always in-demand E320 Cabriolet, but it seems like the really nice examples of these cars are starting to pop up more often. This one painted in Dark Grey Metallic with black leather interior is not a perfect car by any means, but is just as functional and probably a lot more fun than the 400SEL from a few weeks ago. My advice? Snag one of these now if you want one because they aren’t getting any cheaper.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 400E on eBay

Continue reading

2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss

Probably one of the most overlooked or even forgotten supercars of the last decade is the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss. Lots of people thought it was only a concept car or maybe didn’t even know this car exists. That is totally understandable because only 75 of these cars exist and its lack of a windshield doesn’t scream factory production car. The quick backstory on the SLR McLaren Stirling Moss is that it is obviously based off the SLR but with totally radical styling done by Korean designer Yoon Il-hun. This car still has a bite to back up its bark with a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 220 mph. The only way to obtain one of these cars was to be a current SLR owner and write a check for an even $1,000,000. If you are wondering why you’ve never seen one of these cruising around Beverly Hills or South Beach, Miami, it’s because they were never sold in America so a trip to Monaco is in order if you want to see one of these trying to squeeze into a parking spot surrounded by a crowd of people filming it. The good news is that if you were thinking about importing one to the United States, it is possible with the proper paperwork and even more money. Want to import this example for sale in Germany? Bring a pen with a fine tip on it so you can fit all the zeros inside the little box on the check.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss at Mechatronik

Continue reading

1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

Update 8/8/18: An interesting follow-up to the clean V8 quattro I posted the other day, this 1991 V8 5-speed has returned in a no reserve auction format with a $5,500 opening price – down $1,000 from May.

Back to big Audis! The early 1990s were, as I’ve described in the past two posts, a period of change for the Ingolstadt firm as they closed down production on the Type 44 to introduce its new replacement, the C4. That led to a dizzying assortment of models from the one chassis. There was the aforementioned 100 and 100 quattro. You could move up to two turbocharged models, too – the 200 Turbo gave you 165 horsepower through the front wheels, and the new-and-only-for-91 in the U.S. was 200 20V quattro. Europe and the rest of the world got even more options; production lasted right up through 2006 in parts of China, where they even made a crazy long-wheel base 4-door convertible version of the Hongqi.

But the top of the heap for the U.S. market was a derivative of the Type 44, the D11 chassis. Of course, that was Audi’s foray into the top-tier luxury market with its new all-aluminum 32 valve double-overhead cam V8. Body revisions to the front and rear along with flared fenders made the V8 quattro seem like a completely different car to the slab-sided 100. V8s had, and have, serious presence. Big news, too, was that for the first time Audi was able to match its all-wheel drive quattro setup with a new 4-speed automatic transmission.

For die-hard Audi faithful, though, for a short while you could still opt to row-your-own with the 240 horsepower 3.6 liter V8 singing to your right foot. These manual V8 quattros are legendary because of their rarity and that they are the only car Audi brought to market with twin Torsen differentials. The combination of a more rearward weight bias, big and instant torque from the V8 and those clever diffs made for one of the best driving experiences in a big sedan from Audi:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro on Grand Rapids Craigslist

Continue reading

1990 Audi V8 quattro

When it came to the late 1980s, Audi’s monopoly on the all-wheel drive market was coming to an end. Not only were new turbocharged pocket-rockets being born seemingly every day, but Mercedes-Benz had introduced their new “4Matic” designed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch. While you could make a pretty convincing argument that Audi’s design was superior in extreme conditions, there was at least one aspect of the Mercedes-Benz that trumped Ingolstadt’s design – you could get an automatic.

Now, to most enthusiasts that probably sounds like a bad idea. But when it came to selling car – especially expensive luxury cars – the overwhelming majority of buyers wanted the car to do most of the heavy lifting. Audi’s response was the next generation of quattro drivetrains; like Steyr’s system, with a series of clutches in the center differential that helped to transfer power and allowed the car to be mated to an automatic transmission. That transmission – the ZF 4HP24A – was a derivative of the 4HP24, the same automatic found in the V12-equipped BMW 750 and 850s. Like the Mercedes-Benz, Audi employed Bosch ABS and a locking rear differential. But unlike other Audis with their manual- or electronic-locking rear differential, the V8 quattro used a Torsen rear differential with helical gears which would automatically split torque in up to a 3:1 ratio to the wheel with grip.

But the V8 quattro wasn’t only about its unique new form of all-wheel drive. The moniker obviously indicated there had been a change in motivation, too, and indeed the V8 launched a new all-aluminum 4 cam, 32 valve V8 displacing 3.6 liters dubbed the PT. Rated at 240 horsepower and 254 lb.ft of torque, it was the most powerful Audi for sale in the late 1980s and brought the brand to a luxury level it had previously not competed at. In the U.S., these mega-Audis were met with mixed success. The 1990 launch of the V8 resulted in reasonably good sales; Audi sold 2,823 between late 1989 and the end of 1990 which represented over 10% of their yearly sales. Consider that the legendary Quattro never even broke 1% of Audi’s annual sales here; in its most successful year Quattros comprised .62% of the overall sales for the company.

But it was downhill – sharply – from there, as Audi nearly left the U.S. market and top-flight executives hit a notoriously bad sales patch. That meant that in total only 3,868 V8 quattros were sold in the U.S. This might be one of the best ’90s left:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

Continue reading

2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG

Last week I checked out a really interesting 2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG that was one of the better W208 AMG cars, but I still thought didn’t hold up to the brother W210 E55 AMG. I just thought it lacked a few things and I’m not just cherry picking little things, Mercedes really did short the CLK55 with equipment and less power. Today, I thought I’d check out the next generation, the C209, to see if anything improved and if they were on par with the W211 E55. Sad news, they were not.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG on eBay

Continue reading

2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG

Although I am not big fan of the first generation Mercedes-Benz CLK, I do have a soft spot for the CLK55 AMG. I’ve done a deep dive into them before and my stance on them hasn’t changed. Despite being equipped with the same 5.4 liter M113 from AMG, the CLK55 is about 80% of what the brother W210 E55 is. Mercedes probably has their reasons, but it always felt like the CLK55 was cheaped-out on and the spec sheet backs that up. Still, I think at the end of the day these are cool cars that will have some kind of collectibility in the future. Today, I wanted to check out a low mileage 2001 with the Designo interior up for sale in Pennsylvania. The best part about it is that it probably can be had for a pretty decent price.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG on eBay

Continue reading

1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5

The glorious run of the Mercedes-Benz W108 and W109 wrapped up production in 1972 to make way for the W116 that launched the S-Class name. Except for us lucky North Americans who got another model year of the W108 and W109 in 1973. I think the fine people at Mercedes probably just wanted to dump the last of the remaining stock across the ocean because what are buyers really going to do about it? Get on the internet in 1973 to complain about it? That leads me to today’s car. This 1973 280SE 4.5 up for sale in New Jersey isn’t perfect and has a few flaws, but that is the beauty of this one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 on eBay

Continue reading